As many of you know, I recently moved to what I believe is the greatest city in Canada- Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island. Although it hasn’t exactly been a seamless nor a smooth transition, I know for certain that it was the right move that I absolutely had to make. Two of the best surprises of moving here has been reconnecting with two of my collegial buddies from over a decade ago who took part in a women’s empowerment newsletter I created in Vancouver when I first opened my private practice. One of them is the fabulous Dr. Lisa Polinsky from Sage Naturopathic Clinic. To my great delight, she moved to Victoria and started the second Sage Clinic about five years ago and we are back to joining forces in empowering women to take charge of their physical and emotional well-being.
The other fantastic woman I stumbled upon when I moved here is the lovely Lorna Ketler who owns one of my favourite women’s clothing stores for sizes 10-24 in Vancouver called Bodacious. Well guess what dear readers? Lorna has opened a second Bodacious location right here in downtown Victoria! The clothes are gorgeous, made of delightful fabrics and come in eye-popping colours and fabulous styles.
On a recent trip to Bodacious, Lorna and I sat down over tea and discussed how many women find clothes shopping an unpleasant experience. We talked about how that could be turned into a positive and empowering experience. Shortly after our talk, Lorna whipped up the following article which I think is definitely a step in the right direction. I asked her if I could share her wise words with you and luckily, she agreed.
A New Look on ‘Finding a New Look’
Are you someone who shops twice a year whether you need it or not?
Or are you the person who shops regularly for a little pick-me-up?
“I’ll buy that dress that’s a bit too small to encourage myself to be “good”.”
Do you only buy on sale?
“I’m not sure if I like it, but it’s such a great deal. I’ll make it work!”
Do you always shop with a friend or prefer a long leisurely alone shopping experience?
Do you like lots of input from store staff or are you someone who really likes to spend time perusing without a lot of chat?
We all shop for different reasons. I also know that my reasons change with the occasion, my mood or whom I happen to be with at the time. Spouses, family and friends can be helpful but that’s certainly not always the case! I’ve seen lot of body-image damage done through “helpful” feedback. Choose your shopping support wisely.
Maybe you haven’t really put a lot of thought into it, and that’s fine too.
What I really want to know, though, is what are you paying attention to when you shop?
We all know the rules of fashion, body types, and colours. We’ve heard and read them so many times we can recite them in our sleep. We’re bombarded every day with magazine covers telling us what’s good/bad and right/wrong in fashion and with our bodies. And we’re also now happily seeing most of those rules debunked.
I’m here to plant a different seed for you…
The most important thing when it comes to fashion is how you feel when you put on the clothes. You create your style. You make it your own.
Do you know how you feel? Do you know what you desire on your body? Do you know what lights you up on the outside?
You may be a “dark winter” and have been told by a colour expert to only wear clothing in the “royal” family but you absolutely LOVE soft pastel pink. In fact, every time you put something pink on, it makes you twirl around the room and feel like a kid again. Should you wear pink? Absolutely YES, PLEASE! Are people going to worry about you breaking your “colour” rules? I’m pretty sure they’re more likely to see a joy-filled person celebrating life.
So many times in our stores, we’ve had women go into the dressing room with two dress options. The first looks great, is the “right” colour and fits all the requirements on their list but their response is only mediocre. Then they try on something they may not have thought would work but something attracted them to it. They hop out of the dressing room and do a little twirl. Eyes are lit up and the energy is completely shifted to a YES! Maybe the first dress will be chosen for this particular occasion (it’s nice and looks good) but we always point out the difference in response so that customers can see it for themselves. We’re so brainwashed by the rules and told that we don’t know what’s right for us, sometimes we forget to see, feel and experience.
I can tell you what I think you should buy (and we are certainly here to help) but what I love is when you see and feel the difference. What lights you up? Is it the feel of the fabric? Is it the way the skirt swishes when you walk? Is it that blue that makes your eyes twinkle?
Many women- especially if you wear a size 14 or above- have had at least one poor or negative shopping experience. Lack of options is brutal to finding your own style. I’ve also heard heart-breaking stories about unwelcoming, unhelpful or downright rude staff who can shut down your experience before it even starts.
One thing I’d recommend to anyone who wants to feel the difference is this- find a beautiful store that feels welcoming, take some time and play. Be clear with the staff what your needs are. I love it when someone tells me that they’re happy to just look around and then asks questions when ready. I am also thrilled when someone is open to stepping out of their perceived rules and comfort zone to try something new!
“I can’t wear dresses!” Hmmm…I know you can and you may love how they feel if you tried one on. Ditch the pantyhose and wear a comfy bamboo legging.
“I can’t show my arms!” Again, yep! It’s allowed and encouraged. The only one who is really looking and judging your arms is you.
“I really love it but I’m retired now so I don’t really need nice clothes.” I’m always challenged with this one. I get that you don’t need a suit for the office anymore but isn’t this the time that you get to really explore what your style and wants are?
You deserve to feel beautiful because you are! Find at least one special thing that lights you up and makes you feel it. Whether you’re a thrift store, consignment, big box or boutique shopper. Shopping isn’t a serious business. It should be fun and celebratory! I celebrate you!